I think I may have been abused in my past, but I don't remember....

As a therapist, I am often asked, “I think I may have been molested or abused as a child, but don’t remember it.  How do I know for sure whether or not I have been abused?”  This question is a really tough question to answer.  For one because our brains do not store information like a computer does.  Sometimes we can have a variety of memories or thoughts that are not actually saved properly. 

 

Hunting for memories can be a very tricky and potentially damaging process, and my primary question for clients who want to know for sure of the accuracy of these potential occurrences is, “How would this information be useful to you today?” 

 

Here is an article from the University of Washington regarding memory recovery, and creating false memories that I believe may be very helpful https://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/Articles/sciam.htm

 

I do understand fully how knowledge is power, and believe that trauma, even unknown, may have areas for healing that can improve one’s life.  I also want all who inquire about the unconscious to really ask yourself, “What is it in my current life that I am trying to improve or find growth in?”  At times, some of the most effective healing of our character and behavioral defects are best tackled by addressing the here and now versus searching in our past.

The Meaning of Forgiveness

In therapy sessions, topics around forgiveness come up quite often.  People often come in either saying, "I forgive them, but I hope they get whats coming to them," or, "I forgive them, but I'm not letting go of what they did to me."  At times, forgiveness appears to be a catch phrase everyone says to appear as if they are somewhat victorious in what has happened to them.  I often ask clients, "What does forgiveness mean to you?" Most are unable to really answer the question and pass over it like they did not hear what I have said.  For a while I myself often struggled with what forgiveness really meant to me personally, and how to obtain it.

Forgiveness for me is letting go of the pain that the person or event that occurred has caused me, and wishing for the person that was wrong to one day be in a better place so that they do not continue to hurt themselves and others.  It is not about having to like the person that did something wrong, but it is about being able to not give that incident power over who you are and your future in a negative way. Forgiveness is about recognizing that the person that did something wrong was human, someone's child, and if you are of faith, that person is a child of God.  Whether they see the image of who they are or are sorry for their ills is really none of your concern because forgiveness is not about them it is about you being able to move on with real peace of mind.

No one can correct the past.  What was done was done.  You can only move forward, and try to strive for a better today.  You cannot force someone into being a better person by having them go through the same thing you went through or by punishing them.  It doesn't work because we all have different reactions and perceptions to things in life.  We do not all feel pain the same.  All you can do is take whatever learning lessons that came from your hurt, and apply them to your life today.

Understand that true forgiveness often takes time.  It takes time to heal when someone did you wrong and you are hurting.  Allow time to feel pain, grieve, and heal.  Journal, vent to close confidants, seek therapy, exercise, eat well, practice self-care and love.  Bad things happen to people, good and bad.  It is up to you to determine if your past will allow you to become a better person or not. 

Being Right Vs. Happy

In today’s society everything is about being right.  Get the right answer win a million dollars.  Success seems to revolve around perfection.  People’s values are wrapped around the idea of being right.  The ironic thing about being right is that as soon as someone is correct about one topic, the next day it can be found to be untrue. 

All of this to ask, “is being right always right?”  Do we at times sacrifice our happiness in relationships and with ourselves for the pursuit of righteousness?  Just something to think about.  Now I’m not saying overindulge or place yourself in precarious situations.  What I am asking is that the next time you decide to keep fighting about a topic because you know you are right to ask yourself, “Is it really worth mine or their happiness at this moment and/or long-term to be right?”

New Year New You!!!

It is now 2015!!! Crazy how time goes by so fast.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago I was envisioning what 2015 would look like in the year 2000.  I honestly can say life isn’t necessarily where I envisioned myself being, but it is exactly where I need to be right now and right here.  Each year comes a multitude of blessings, trials, challenges, and changes.  I wish for this year a focus on elimination.  A focus on eliminating what is no longer of use, no longer needed, no longer healthy in our lives.  I wish for us to focus on what is important.  A focus on what makes our hearts feel warm, brings joy in our day, and provides us with much needed self-care.  I want for each of us to focus on ourselves and creating a new and vibrant version of who we are meant to be.  Whatever it takes to bring you to your better self, do it, and everything else will fall into place.  Wishing you and yours a wonderful continuation of growth for 2015!!!